30 Marathons by 30

Blair native Brett Jensen is congratulated by his girlfriend, Rachel Morse, after a marathon. Jensen set out to run 30 marathons by the age 30, accomplishing the goal May 5 in Lincoln.

Two weeks before his 30th birthday, 2007 Blair High School graduate Brett Jensen ran down Tom Osborne Field at Memorial Stadium.

After miles and miles logged in Oklahoma, Maine and even Canada, Jensen was back in Nebraska, competing in the May 5 Lincoln Marathon.

“There's no cooler finish than that,” he said, detailing his run through the Huskers' 50-yard-line.

Jensen's opinion comes with experience. He wasn't just finishing those 26.2 miles May 5, he was capping a near eight-year journey to complete 30 marathons by the age of the 30.

The former Blair Bear, who now lives and works as a CPA in Maine, was born May 19, 1989.

Getting started

Jensen joined the BHS cross-country team as a sophomore, “Just to get in shape.”

He didn't particularly enjoy it at first, but stuck with the sport as a junior and then as a senior.

“I found reasons to enjoy running,” the runner said.

Jensen said he worked hard, but would have never considered himself a “good,” top member of the team. Still, he took his athletics experience with him, running as a hobby when he arrived at college.

Logging miles helped relieve stress and it was a good activity to complete with things on his mind.

“I'd go out for 10-, 15-mile runs,” he said, though he'd never seriously considered marathons. It'd take a friend's encouragement to get Jensen going.

On Oct. 15, 2011, he ran a 50K called the Pumpkin Holler Hundred in Tahlequah, Okla.

“I ran that one and was hooked,” he recalled.

Brett Jensen, marathon runner

Jensen's race to 30 marathons by 30 started somewhere in the middle, but he has been an active runner since that first race in October 2011.

The CPA ran several in Oklahoma, where he was living, through 2015, hitting up races in Arkansas and Kansas as well. He won one such Kansas event, the Heartland 50-Miler trail race in 2012.

“That was a surreal race,” Jensen said.

A good amount of the 50 were run in darkness with lightning filling the sky, though always in the distance. The Blair native finished at 2:12 a.m., but not before having to herd through some cattle that had gotten onto the trail.

Before making regular running appearances in Maine and the northeastern United States, Jensen took part in the country's most famous marathon.

“There's not much that can compare to Boston,” he said.

The BHS grad ran the Boston Marathon in 2015 and 2016 before running another famous race, the New York City Marathon, to help finish off what ended up a seven-marathon 2018.

So, with one 26.2 jaunt left to go before turning 30 on May 19, Jensen came back for his first marathon in his home state.

“I hadn't been home in a little while,” he said.

Now that he's no longer in his 20s, Jensen isn't sure what's next on the marathon front — or if he'll do one again. But one thing's for sure, “I certainly still run.”

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